Blog Hero


How our appearance-obsessed culture affected me at a young age

We are constantly bombarded by images of young, thin girls in advertisements retouched to perfection, and magazines headlined with “How to Achieve the Perfect Beach Body”. A perfect body has now been redefined as a thigh gap, a flat stomach, large breasts and butt, curves, and a thin body.

Men are expected to be toned, muscular, tall and with six pack abs. Since we are surrounded by these images and ideas, it’s not difficult to see why many of us aspire to look a certain way. This culture has placed a large emphasis on aesthetics and that emphasis extends even to the very young. Girls younger than the age of 10 are critical of their appearance.

This fascination with aesthetics places a value only on looks, rather than personality or intelligence. We begin to place our worth to how skinny we are, and how beautiful we are. This allows the cosmetics industry, weight fads, and plastic surgeons to profit off of people’s insecurities instead.

I have encountered body issues. From a young age, I began sucking in my stomach when I walked, and wearing oversized sweaters to hide my weight. I began weighing myself 3-5 times a day, counting calories, and living by a strict diet. This escalated into taking laxatives, attempting to throw up, and starving myself.

I didn’t want to be alive if I wasn’t skinny and no number on the scale would make me happy.

I wasn’t diagnosed with an eating disorder, but these were still self-destructive behaviours I developed because I thought I wasn’t “good enough.” These are common, prevalent issues that plague our youth today and my experience is only one out of thousands.

I began to practice self-care, and began seeing a psychiatrist. This allowed me to talk about my insecurities and how to deal with my issues in a healthy way. I stopped my self-destructive behaviours and began using healthier alternatives instead. I still have insecurities, but I am not solely focused on my appearance and haunted by my imperfections.

I have come to terms with the fact that perfection is unattainable and that I should appreciate the way I am instead.

Are you struggling with body issues or an eating disorder? Talk to us, we’re here to help.

Written by

More Articles By

Stay Connected

Our Blog

Learn more about how we’re helping young people love themselves and the world around them.

chevron-right chevron-left

Check Us Out on

Volunteer With Us

Make a real difference in the lives of young Calgarians by volunteering with our team.

Contact Our Team

Have a question? Want to start a fundraising initiative with us? We’d love to hear from you. Contact the ConnecTeen team today.

Get Help Now

Connect with someone who understands and get the support you deserve.


Make a donation and help us support youths and young adults across our city and surrounding areas.

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax